La Cienega Norms display cases: empty

Empty display case at Norms La Cienega. Photo by Alison Martino/Vintage LA

Alison Martino, the creator of the mega-successful Facebook community Vintage Los Angeles, lives across the street from the Norms on La Cienega. She was already concerned about the news, which we posted yesterday, that new owners have received a demolition permit from the city of Los Angeles for the Googie-style 1950s coffee shop. She went over and took a look, and was stunned to discover that the display cases which usually contain food items are already empty. "It's a shame this wasn't landmarked years ago," Martino told me.

Meanwhile, the city's Cultural Heritage Commission just voted to look into the possibility of monument status for this Norms. That will legally delay any attempt to tear down the restaurant, at least for awhile. The commission heard from architectural historians about the rarity of intact Googie coffee shops, including from Alan Hess, who wrote the book on Googie and the historic-cultural monument application for Norms. A lawyer for the owners of Norms said they had no immediate plans to tear down the place, and that the demolition permit was just in case there may be redevelopment options down the road.

LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has been live-tweeting the meeting.

For those who like Norms as an eatery, the chain's Facebook page offers reassurance.

NORMS Restaurants has sold but we have not sold our soul. While our owners have changed we will remain the same. Same great food, same great prices, same great staff. Thank you for your support, you are what makes NORMS—NORMS, you are family. NORMS is SoCal. NORMS Restaurants. Where Life Happens — 24/7.

Also this from New York architectural critic Paul Goldberger:

By the way: I'm adopting the apostrophe-free usage of Norms that the restaurant itself uses, as does those in the know like Alan Hess.

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